Families invited to help shape future support services

Daisy Hall
Authored by Daisy Hall
Posted: Friday, February 23, 2024 - 06:44

Devon County Council is inviting families, professionals and community organisations to help shape services that support young families

The council is changing the way that young families are supported at Children’s Centres, and is inviting those who use the services, as well as professionals and community groups, to help influence the changes.

It follows a national move, announced by the Government last year, for Children’s Centres to become Family Hubs, as part of its Start for Life Programme initiative.

In Devon that means extending the age range, from current services that deliver targeted support to 0 to 8 year-olds, to future services that provide targeted and universal support to 0 to 19 year-olds, or up to 25 year-old young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.

And it would mean a wider range of services than present, including support from local community groups, working together to help young families.

The council commissions the charity Action for Children to run Children’s Centres in Devon on their behalf.  The charity is already working with neighbouring Plymouth and Torbay councils to help their transition from Children’s Centres to become Family Hubs, and now they’re working with Devon County Council to do the same across the rest of Devon.

Having agreed at the end of last year to make the change in line with national thinking, Devon County Council is now inviting families, professionals and community groups to help shape what the new Family Hubs support network will look like in Devon.

Exactly which services will be integrated into a Family Hub will very much depend on the needs of local families.  But the kind of services that families could access include early years services and education; Public Health Nursing and Midwifery services; activities delivered by local groups; drug, alcohol and domestic abuse support; mental health support and youth services. 

The council says that Family Hubs are likely to be located in areas of greatest need, with outreach services extending from them into local communities.

Much of the support families currently receive will still be available. 

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Cabinet Member for Children's Services and Schools, said:

“We know our Children’s Centres are greatly valued by families that use them and we would like to hear your views on the ways you and your family access support, where you currently go for support, what you find most helpful and how things could be improved. 

“We will use this information to help us to plan the Family Hub network in your area. By developing and growing partnerships, the existing voluntary groups and charities, many of which already support parents of young children in various ways, we will ensure that the support you receive is easier to access, more joined up and responds to what is needed locally.” 

The consultation is available by visiting our Have Your Say webpage. 

The survey will run until March 23. If you would like this questionnaire in any other format or language please email:  childrenscommissioningsecure-mailbox@devon.gov.uk